Warrior Peak Climb (7300')

My third climb in three weeks was on Warrior Peak in the Olympic Mountains. The climb was listed as an alpine climb which means it is neither a rock nor a glacier climb, but has elements of both. I thought this would mean an easier climb, but it ended up being the most tiring day of my climbing career.

On the first day we hiked five miles to Marmot Pass and made camp. The area was at 6000 feet and was covered with snow. We were above the clouds and were able to enjoy a sunny afternoon.

Marmot Pass

The next day we crossed a ridge and then traversed the side of a valley through snow and loose rock. Thanks to last winter's snowfall, the trail could not be found most of the time.

starting the climb

After a mile or two of hiking, Warrior Peak became visible for the first time. No one in the group had climbed it before so we didn't know what to expect.

first view

When we reached the base of the mountain, we had to climb a steep snow chute between it's twin peaks. Unlike a glacier climb, we were not roped up. I was very scared climbing the chute knowing that if I fell it would be a very long and fast ride down.

snow/scree chute

Once up the chute, our leader was surprised to find a serious rock climb w would need to make in order to reach the summit. Half our group was not properly equipped to do a rock climb so we had to get creative in order to fashion climbing harnesses for everyone. Though I had brought my equipment I did not feel safe with the rock climb.

After the rock climb, we had an easy scramble to the top. From there we could see incredible views of the Olympics, Cascades and nearby Mount Constance.

Mt Constance

Western Olympics

Once at the top I was happy for a brief moment. I had sucessfully summited my third climb for the class, which is the requirement for graduation. Soon, though, I realized I had a long hike back before I could rest in the car.

me at summit

The hike back was a long and tiring one. I feared heading back down the chute, but the snow had softened up which made for an easier hike down. Thanks to all the snow we were able glisade down part of mountain. Glisading is just sliding down the mounting using an ice axe to steer. It's fun, but it can be dangerous. The previous week I glisaded about a mile down Glacier Peak and at the end almost flew off into a waterfall.

glisading down

We didn't get back to our tents until after 7:00 p.m. There was no time to rest since we had to pack things up and rush down the trail before it got too dark. Unfortunately the darkness caught up with us and we ended up hiking for a couple hours in a dark forest with only our headlamps to lead the way. We didn't get to our cars until almost 11:00 p.m. I was sore and tired. It was even painful just to sit. The good news was that I sucessfully got all my climbs in, a fact I tried hard to keep in mind as I wimpered on the drive back home.

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July 17-18, 1999